HEALTH / WELLNESS

Is There a Link Between Birth Control Pills and Breast Cancer?

Utilizing or consuming hormonal birth control methods encompasses various newer kinds of birth control pills. They also include alternatives such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants. There have been studies that suggest usage of these kind of substances probably stand a chance to slightly elevate the chances of women’s risk of breast cancer. This study has its foundation on prior findings that link hormonal birth control with breast cancer. However, the new study is primarily focused on newer forms of birth control.

When the researchers analysed a batch of varied hormonal formulations utilized in birth control, they saw that all of the formulations had an increase in the risk of breast cancer by approximately the same amount. It is a fact that Hormonal birth control methods particularly use either a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin, or it can use progestin all by itself.

It is not actually a “new” link
The findings of the link between hormonal contraception and breast cancer is not actually new. Studies that can be traced decades back have suggested that the hormones in birth control have chances of raising the risk of breast cancer. However, these earlier studies mainly took into perspective older kinds of birth control pills that had a higher dose of estrogen as compared to today’s pills. Thus, it was not clear if such a risk should be applied to newer formulations of birth control pills or to some other kind of birth control methods such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants which contain the hormone progestin solely.

The recent study also confirms that the increased breast cancer risk was initially reported with the usage of older and often higher-dose formulations. It is also applicable to contemporary formulations of birth control.

Furthermore, other studies have also found that consuming hormonal birth control might actually decrease the risk of other cancers, which includes ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and colorectal cancer.

Risk associated with longer usage of the pill
The recent study has also included women in Denmark that ages between 15 to 49 years who had not been diagnosed with cancer earlier. The researchers utilized nationwide registries to gather information about various prescriptions that were filled in for hormonal contraception, as well as for diagnosis of breast cancer.

The researchers found that the longer duration of hormonal contraception usage lead to greater risk of breast cancer. Utilizing hormonal contraception for less than one year did not cause an increase in the women’s risk of breast cancer. But using hormonal contraception for 10 years was surely linked with a 40 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer, as compared with those who had never utilized hormonal contraception.

It was also observed in this study that once women stopped utilizing these forms of birth control, the greater risk of breast cancer vanished if the women had utilized hormonal contraception for at least less than five years. However, the study found that if they had taken hormonal contraception for greater than five years, a higher risk of breast cancer continued for at least five years post the discontinuation of hormonal birth control.

Conclusion of the study

The findings were concluded even after the researchers did not take into consideration certain factors that could affect the risk of breast cancer, including becoming pregnant or bearing a family history of the disease beforehand.

However, the study has not accounted for any other things that affected breast cancer risk. These missed out factors includes physical activity levels and alcohol consumption. Yet the researchers noted that any unaccounted factors will also need to have a great effect on the risk of breast cancer and also be a very common trait in the population to elaborate the results.

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